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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Priyanka comes clean on Harman!

Since Love Story 2050 is her good friend Harman Baweja's debut film did Priyanka Chopra put in that extra mile for it?

"Oh I put in lots of extra miles in all my roles. For the first time in Indian cinema you'll see the concept of time travel. And working with robots was very cool. Love Story 2050 is very Indian at the same time very futuristic. "

Harman says Priyanka helped him with his scenes.

"Well, yes, "concedes Priyanka."Being a senior I gave him whatever support I could. But let me tell you, if I'm more experienced in front of the camera he's far more experienced behind the camera. He has been part of the movie-making process assisting his dad for almost fifteen years. So I guess we both learnt from each other."

Initially Priyanka was apprehensive about how well she would match Harman on screen."I've known Harman for a very long time. He knows so much about cinema.

But he was completely raw to acting. So I wanted to do my best to make him feel comfortable. I remember how helpful everyone was when I did my first film The Hero."

Talk veers to her family. Is Priyanka's dad cutting a music album?

Priyanka says it's been in the pipeline for a long time. "He has been working on it for a long time. Then he fell ill. And the album went on the backburner. I'd love to be part of it, though I don't think I'll sing in it."

Priyanka loves to sing and would some day like to cut her own album. "But I don't think I'm ready for it yet. Singing professionally would require a lot more practice than I can muster right now. Right now I'd rather focus on my career."

She has three releases coming up. "Until November I've Drona, Love Story 2050 and God Tussi Great Ho. The third would probably be my first release now. Salman and I make a great pair. And he's so funny in the film. The chemistry between Salman and Sohail is so fantastic."

Both Drona and Love Story 2050 have loads of special effects."But while Drona is a super-hero film, Love Story 2050 is basically a love story. Both have been fun to shoot in different ways.

I had to sport two different looks in Love Story…. I've been in fantasy-spectacles before…Krissh and Don belong to that genre. It's not as if I'm choosing these spectacles. What I look for are projects beyond the conventional."

Priyanka is hoping the three releases this year would take her career further."I may have had some hiccups lately. But on the whole I think I'm on the right track."

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Isha and Urmila both ditched me: Kalpana Lajmi

Critically acclaimed director Kalpana Lajmi had announced her next film Mujhe Rang De quite sometime ago but it shows no signs of going on the floors. TWF correspondent Vickey Lalwani checks out what is going on at Lajmi’s end.

She is a niece of legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt. On her own, Kalpana Lajmi walks tall as an award-winning filmmaker for movies like Ek Pal, Rudali, Darmiyaan, Daman, etc.

But she has been unusually silent after her last film Chingaari. Now Mujhe Rang De (with Ishaa Koppikar, Rahul Dev, Rituparna Sengupta) announced sometime ago is yet to get off the block. What’s happening on the Lajmi front?

Excerpts from an interview:

What is happening to Mujhe Rang De?
The film was supposed to start in October but has now been put on the backburner.

Ishaa has opted out.

You could have taken someone else?
I turned to Urmila Matondkar to step into Ishaa’s shoes. Urmila agreed. Few days later, even she backed out.

But hadn’t Ishaa signed on the dotted line?

So why did she opt out after that?
She suddenly fell silent and refused to respond to my calls. I told Mahendra Dhariwal (the producer) that it was clear that she was not interested in the project anymore. She kept me in the dark for nearly six months. Till then, I had made several calls to her- but to no avail.

Finally, she informed my assistant that we couldn't reach her simply because she had disconnected her phone since somebody was stalking her. For six months? God!

What did you do then?
I approached Urmila Matondkar, but before that I sent a SMS to Ishaa.

What did the message say?
The message read: 'Ishaa, you are a very fine person. I like you very much. But please don't get caught up with people who don't show you the mirror of reality'.

What happened with Urmila? Did she too opt out?
Suddenly she told me that she won't be able to give me dates since she was busy with shows. I told her that I was ready to wait till her shows get over- but she insisted that I let this pass. What could I do? Am I in a position that I can sit and make enemies?

Is it because Mahendra Dhariwal is not a big name and today’s actors want to work with big banners only?
This sort of a problem is not being faced by Dhariwal alone. Almost all single producers are going through hell. The entire crop of actors has become very strange. Every actor looks at the banner before signing a film.

Yes, they want to work with only big banners. Plus, these three film contracts which have become an in-thing these days have spoilt the actors. Imagine Upen Patel getting 50 lakhs per movie! How can single producers pay as much?

You mean actors are charging too much?
Precisely. Think of it, why are actors charging so much when none of them except Shah Rukh Khan can guarantee a hit?

Consider Chak De! India. I wouldn't say that the girls were great, they were just good. Take away SRK from the film, and with all its good intent intact, it would not have run away to the glory it has achieved.

Do people here understand what cinema is all about?
People have yet to understand that a film is not about a hero and a heroine. It is about storytelling. Is it any wonder that films are not even running for two weeks these days?

Our industry folk keep blaming external factors like cricket, rain and school and college exams for their own failure. There was a time when realistic cinema existed in mainstream cinema.

Today, for some strange reason, everyone is expected to only make feel-good films.

The Fifth Australian Indian Film Festival announced

The 5th Australian Indian Film Festival will commence from October 18 to October 28, 2007, at Sydney’s Cinema Paris and Melbourne’s Cinema Nova. This is the largest foreign film festival in Australia, screening over 20 films and hosting 12 guests, including India’s hottest filmmakers, actors and fashion designers. The festival is attended by over 40,000 people per year.

Director Feroze Khan’s historic epic Gandhi My Father will flag off the gala event on October 17 in Sydney, and on October 19, in Melbourne. Not only that, Akshaye Khanna, Feroze Khan and producer-actor Anil Kapoor will be the special guests of the festival and will also be participating in a Q & A session, after the film’s screening in both, Sydney and Melbourne!

October 18 will witness an award ceremony that will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, whereby the Best Film and Best Performance will be announced.

The 10-day long extravaganza will also showcase a programme called ‘Bollywood in Australia’, a selection of four successful Hindi films which were shot in Australia and had hired Australian crew, dancers and actors.

The films that will be showcased during this festival are:
* Dil Chahta Hai
* Chak De India
* Salaam Namaste
* Heyy Babyy
* Anuranan,
* Bheja Fry
* Blue Umbrella
* Cheeni Kum
* Dhoom 2
* Don
* Eklavya, The Royal Guard
* Gandhi My Father
* Guru
* Honeymoon Travels
* Jhoom Barabar Jhoom
* Kabul Express
* Life In A… Metro
* The Namesake
* Salaam Namaste
* Shootout At Lokhandwala
* Ta Ra Rum Pum

Besides these, Bollywood fans will also be treated to two unreleased bonanzas, which include the John-Arshad starrer Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal and Pradeep Sarkar’s magnum opus Laaga Chunari Mein Daag.

Even the guests list also looks tad impressive, with the likes of Akshaye Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Feroze Abbas Khan, Shimit Amin, Sagarika Ghatge, Chitrashi Rawat, Arbaaz Khan, John Abraham, Simi Garewal, Siddharth Anand, who will be gracing the occasion.

So, what are you waiting for? Keep yourself free to have a date with history!

J.P's quiet birthday, all set to launch his next

Movie Moghul J.P. Dutta turned a year older yesterday(3 October). The day was spent with family and colleagues from the office. The rush generally seen to greet the epic maker was missing.

But JP was happy to be with the people he counted on. "At my age you begin to look back on your life and all the experiences that have gone into making me the person that I am," confessed JP on his birthday.

Any chances of penning his memoirs, as his father O.P.Dutta did a few years ago? "Not a chance!" chuckles JP. "Firstly I don't have my father's writing skills. Secondly I'm not as honest as he is."

An honest confession: J.P Dutta is all set to start a new film. It will in all probability star Anupam Kher's son Sikandar. Adds JP's lovely and devoted wife Bindiya, "You know JP for so many years. He's never defeated for long. He has seen the industry change its colours after a couple of failures. He feels exactly like that Guru Dutt song Dekhi zamanein ki yaari bichde sabhi baari-baari. "

It looks like the failure of Umrao Jaan hasn't daunted JP at all. He's all set to return with a bang, and for the first time without the crutches of gigantic stars. "Why do you say that?"quips JP. "Have you forgotten Refugee? Have you forgotten that Abhishek and Kareena were newcomers when I got them into this film?"

Ruslaan makes Satish Kaushik remember Shekhar Kapoor

There is an interesting story that goes behind the casting of Satish Kaushik's Tere Sang.
Apparently Ruslaan Mumtaz, the male lead of the film, wasn't approved in the first instance by Satish Kaushik. The director of Tere Naam wasn't convinced about roping in the young boy and told him about his discomfort.

Informs Ruslaan's friend, "In first instance, Satish Kaushik told Ruslaan that he didn't quite fit in the part. Even though Ruslaan felt that he suited the part and was willing to do whatever it takes to get under the skin of the character, Kaushik wasn't convinced."

This was the moment when an incident that happened more than a couple of decades back was repeated in front of Kaushik, whose last directorial outing was Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takia, Mallika Sherawat sterrer Shaadi Se Pehle (2006). "Ruslaan did take this rejection in good spirit but not before telling Kaushik that he would eventually revert his decision and rope him in as the lead actor", his friend says.

"The incident took Satish back in the memory lane. Years back he had been a part of a similar situation when he had approached renowned film maker Shekhar Kapoor for being a part of one of his projects. Initially, even Shekhar wasn't too keen on having Satish on board. Satish too made an exit but not before claiming that Shekhar would have no choice but to call him back. As it happened, Shekhar finally relented and Satish was on."

Once Ruslaan was signed for Tere Sang, a teenage romantic flick produced by Karol Bagh Productions (the new production outfit formed by Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik), the work began at a rapid pace.

As per Satish Kaushik, the film is about school kids. This would be the second film for Ruslaan after Robby Grewal's MP3 - Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar that he would be playing a school kid. In Tere Sang, Ruslaan, yesteryear actress Anjana Mumtaz's son, is being paired opposite Sheena Shahabadi, daughter of another actress from the past, Sadhana Singh, who acted in Nadiya Ke Paar. Sheena plays a 15 year old girl in Tere Sang.

The film also stars Rajat Kapoor, Neena Gupta and Sushmita Mukherjee along with Anupam Kher who has done a special appearance in the film. Shooting of 'Tere Sang' is now complete and the film is now being readied for release.

Spicy Calender Wallpapers : October 2007

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Neil Mukesh to take a more conventional route

His powerful debut film Johnny Gaddaar has proved to be a bit of wimp at the box-office. But Neil Mukesh who stars as a cold-blooded money-minded killer in Sriram Raghavan's noire film is far from daunted.

"I agree Johnny Gaddaar is a box-office disappointment," Neil admits four days after his debut tanks. "We came during the month of Ramzan when thirty percent of the (Muslim) population likes to stay away from movies. But I'm still hopeful. Not a single person who has seen Johnny Gaddaar has disliked the film or my performance."

No regrets? "None at all! I'm glad I started my career through the unconventional route. Even my second film Sudhir Mishra's Tera Kya Hoga Johnny is highly unconventional. I wanted to prove myself as an actor before I do the routine hero-giri. Everyone thought I was trying to be an actor because I thought of myself good-looking. Not so! I chose acting because I didn't have the discipline to be a singer like my grandfather Mukesh. Even my father Nitin Mukesh couldn't be another Mukesh."

Having done the most unconventional debut ever Neil Mukesh Mathur is all set to try his hand at orthodox gananachna roles. "Mercifully the offers are coming in a steady trickle in spite of Johnny Gaddaar failing to take off. Quite frankly I didn't even think about the film's fate. I had given all of myself to the project for a year. I had no more energy or emotion to invest in counting its blessings at the box-office. Johnny Gaddaar

And now an equally big challenge awaits Neil. "My second film Tera Kya Hoga Johnny is also very unconventional. I wanted to work with a director like Sudhir Mishra even if the protagonist is played by a young boy from Jharkhand called Sikandar. There're two parallel plots in Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, one featuring Soha Ali Khan and the other featuring me. I play a guy called Parvez who's idolized by Sikandar."

Quite a reversal of the role Neil played in Johnny Gaddaar where he looked up to his guru in crime played by Dharmendra. "But now I promise you my third film will be a traditional love story. I want to prove that I can do the routine stuff too," says Neil.
was a challenge. I am glad I took it up."

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